The Athletes Representing Georgia in the 2022 Winter Olympics

Photo by Stone Ray | The Signal

Once every four years, athletes worldwide gather to compete in the Winter Olympics. They compete in the bobsled, cross country, skiing and 13 other events across two weeks for 36 medals.

Team USA sent the most athletes to the Winter Olympics with 224 competitors. While most Winter Olympic athletes come from the colder, mountain region states, three have connections to Georgia. 

Jared Shumate, who grew up in Park City, Utah, and competed in Nordic combined, was born in Atlanta. 

Josh Williamson, a bobsled team member, went to Mercer University in Georgia. Elena Meyers Taylor, who also competes in the bobsled, grew up in Douglasville, Georgia. 

Jared Shumate:

This year, Shumate competed in his first Olympic Games due to his performance at the 2021 Nordic combined World Cup in Predazzo, Italy.

I am honored to be selected to represent the USA at the 2022 Olympics,” Shumate said in a press release following his selection

“I’m excited to compete with the rest of my teammates at the highest level of sport and am looking forward to experiencing my first Olympic Games!”

His Nordic combined event skiing consists of a long jump and then transitions into a 10 km cross-country skiing event. The event typically takes around 30 minutes to complete, with the very best able to get times close to the 27-minute mark.

Despite finishing 17th overall, Shumate was still the highest-ranking American at the event, beating out three of his Team USA teammates in the race. He finished with a time of 28:58.5 after scoring 101.3 points on the Large Hill.

Shumate shared his thoughts on his performance on Instagram after the first day of the event.

“Certainly was hoping for a few more meters on the ski jump,” he said on his personal Instagram account. “But overall pretty happy to be top-20 at the Olympics!”

Josh Williamson:

The next Georgia-linked athlete is Williamson of the men’s bobsled team. While this is Williamson’s first Olympics, he has competed in the bobsled at high levels since 2017. 

Williamson won two gold medals and two silver medals at the 2017-2018 Four-Man North American Cup for pilot Hunter Church, his first major career highlight.

Williamson was at Mercer University in Georgia on a Lacrosse scholarship, but injury cut his season short. 

Still desperate to compete, he saw an advertisement for a reality TV show called “Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful,” which he applied for and found his new passion in bobsledding.

Since his debut in 2017, Williamson has won two Bobsleigh World Cup bronze medals in the 2020 Innsbruck World Cup and the 2022 Winterberg World Cup. His performances at these World Cups earned him his spot at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Williamson tested positive for COVID-19 just one week before the Olympics started, putting him in doubt for the events altogether.

“This has not been an easy pill to swallow,” Williams posted on Instagram

“I have felt pretty helpless throughout this process, but I’ve also found myself laughing a bit at the situation I’m in. Isn’t it ironic that after four years of hard work, all there is to do is sit, rest, recover and have faith? Things I struggle to do the most.”

Luckily for Williamson and Team USA, the Men’s four-man bobsled takes place during the last four days of the Olympics, giving him the maximum amount of recovery time.

Williamson has not currently competed in any event due to his recovery from COVID-19. Team USA has been without a gold medal in the four-man bobsled since 2010. 

There’s a big target for Williamson in his debut Olympic Games, but he is more than willing to go for it.

Elana Meyers:

The final Georgia athlete at the Olympics is Elana Meyers. Meyers is an Olympic veteran, this year being her fourth Olympic Games. Meyers grew up in Douglasville, Georgia, the most authentic Georgia representative at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Meyers has competed in the women’s monobob event every Olympics since 2010 and has placed on the podium every year she competed. 

She earned a bronze medal in her debut Olympics in 2010 in Vancouver, then earned silver in the 2014 Sochi Games, the 2018 PyeongChang Games and again this year in the 2022 Beijing games.

Outside of the Olympics, Meyers has had a decorated career in Bobsledding. She has had seven podium finishes with four gold medals in Bobsleigh World Cups and 28 gold medals in various other bobsleigh competitions over her 15-year career in the sport.

Meyers almost missed this year’s games because she caught COVID-19 just a couple of weeks before the start and only two days before she arrived in China. 

She had to quarantine and missed out on the opportunity to be the person to carry the American flag at the opening ceremonies.

“I’m not a crier,” she told Washington Post in an interview. “There’s been a lot of emotions every day. It’s just been really, really hard.

Meyers managed to recover in time for her event. 

Even though she didn’t manage to get the gold medal she has been chasing for 12 years, she can hold her head high knowing she managed to earn her country a place on the Olympic podium for the fourth Olympic games in a row.

Georgia is not a wintery state, and while Colorado and Utah may produce the most Winter Olympians, there are still people out there bringing pride to the Peach State. 

With two of the athletes being Olympic debutants, there’s still plenty of room for the representatives of Georgia to grow and achieve in four years.